Arnold won't pressure fringe players
Despite Saturday’s match against China being the last scheduled match before the June friendlies against Uruguay and Argentina, Socceroos coach Graham Arnold will not use the match, as the last match for the fringe players to press their claims for the Asian Cup in July.
Despite Saturday-s match against China being the last scheduled match before the June friendlies against Uruguay and Argentina, Socceroos coach Graham Arnold will not use the match, as the last match for the fringe players to press their claims for the Asian Cup in July.
With Arnold expressing his wish to have the likely Asian Cup squad for the two June blockbusters, Arnold believes the China match is a good opportunity for the players to stake a claim, but will also use April and May to personally go an watch the players in action for their European club sides.
“I know the players pretty well and I am not going to put that pressure on them that this is their last chance (to make the Asian Cup squad),” Arnold said from their base in Hong Kong.
“I plan to get across to Europe at the end of April/May to watch them individually in their club environments as well. The players on the border, edge of selection, to make up my own mind.
“It-s a good opportunity for players to stake a claim and show what they can do and be exposed to more international football.”
Despite having another inexperienced international squad at his disposal for the game, with a host of withdrawals, because of injuries, fatigue and personal commitments, Arnold is looking for a result from the match against the full strength Chinese side.
“Every result is important to me, I want to win every game,” he said emphatically. “I put the expectancy level on the players, while we are ranked No.1 in Asia, everyone is going to want to beat us and everyone is looking at us.
“To me is doesn-t matter which personnel is on the field, its all about the brand, which is the Socceroos. We-ve come a long way in the last couple of years and we-ve got to maintain that. I will be stressing on them before the game that a good result is required.
“I am very confident in this team. It-s a team for the future, past 2007 Asian Cup and a good opportunity for a lot of youngsters. We have to keep exposing these players, as much as we can to international football, to get them to the level they need to be at for the World Cup qualifiers and create depth in the group.”
Arnold was also not concerned about the problems within the Chinese camp, surrounding the attack on China-s coach in recent days and whether that will affect the performance of the home team.
“It doesn-t matter to me, what problems they have. It-s all about us. Obviously they are playing at home and we are going into different surroundings, a new environment and its going to be a great test for us anyway.
“I-m concerned about my own side and what I can worry about and that-s our players and how we play.
“I-ve had a look at the DVD-s over the last couple of weeks; they are a very handy side, quick, mobile, like all Asian sides are.”
Arnold was also pleased to be able to get more than just a couple of sessions to work with the players and said the players were looking fit, very mobile and quick.
“It-s new to be able to have four sessions before a game, to be able to work on things.
“This is the perfect dress rehearsal for what we are going to come up against in 2008-09 during the World Cup qualifiers.”